Oct
07
2008
0

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Most people don’t even realize that they’re trend setters.  With the increase in online or website based programs, more and more people are turning to “cloud computing.”  This term refers to a process where all the computational heavy lifting is not performed on a user’s computer but rather an external computer.

Clouds, Computing?

Clouds, Computing?

The most common example of cloud computing is probably “Google Docs,” which is Google’s online suite of office productivity software.  It includes programs for spreadsheets, presentations, and of course document editing.  It can open and save in its own format, OpenOffice format, and Microsoft Office formats.  Even Adobe released a free online version of Photoshop.

Cloud computing is basically the process of outsourcing your math.  There are a lot of situations where this makes a lot of sense:

  • Money. Lower computing requirements mean you don’t need as powerful a computer, saving you money.
  • Money. Lower computing requirements also mean you won’t need to purchase an upgrade or new computer as often, saving you money.
  • Time. Nothing to install, upgrade, or troubleshoot.
  • Money. Web server updates mean you don’t have to purchase software upgrades, saving you money.
  • Scaling. Need another copy of a program?  Just fire up a new computer and launch a new web browser.
  • Fewer Resources. When the program never actually runs on your computer, it uses no memory.  When your computer isn’t working hard running a program, it uses less power.
  • More Resources. When the program is never installed on your computer, it uses no hard drive space.  On the flip side, many cloud computing programs allow you to save your work or files online – giving you more hard drive space than what’s on your computer.

So, how does all this technobabble about cloud computing apply to you?  Well, every time you use this website’s online web-based permanent disability calculators and EAMS search functions you’re letting my web server do the number crunching for you.

You’re, quite literally, letting me help you save resources, time, and money.

Sep
24
2008
2

When to Repair A Laptop

Okay, your laptop doesn’t work.  What do you do once you’re done grieving?  Your options are to:

  1. Fix it yourself. Slowest and cheapest solution.
  2. Pay someone to fix it. Moderately time consuming and expensive, and potentially fraught with peril (your laptop could get damaged or ruined).
  3. Get a new laptop. Quickest and most expensive solution.
Computer Help

Computer Help

Setting aside the idea of diagnosing and fixing the issue yourself, which is just not an option for most people, the choice is usually between fixing and getting a new laptop.  With computer processing power, RAM/memory, hard drive space, and battery life constantly increasing while prices consistently decrease, the ideal time to repair versus buying a new laptop is always going to be a moving target.  There are three main factors to consider when making this decision.

Cost

Cost is probably the single biggest deciding factor.  The good news is that your laptop can probably be repaired.  Sight unseen, it will probably cost you between $200.00 and $500.00 including parts and labor.  A new laptop will cost you roughly $500.00 for a bare bones machine, $1,250.00 for a nice machine, and $2,500.00 and up for a ridiculously powerful machine.

Lifetime

For most people a computer has a 3 year timeline of usefulness.  After that something about the computer will be too outdated to be of use beyond basic usage.  If your computer is more than 3 years old, you’ve had a good run.  Replace the poor thing.

Time & Need

If you need a computer for your business, every hour without your computer means you’re losing money.  If you don’t need it for your business, you’ve got more time to decide.  Your time is important and your downtime is even more important.

Formula

Here’s my totally unscientific and completely quantifiable formula for determining with nearly totally complete guesstimate-approximation of whether you should repair or replace your laptop.  First, let’s assume a constant – the amount you would spend on a new laptop and set that equal to the original purchase price of your current broken laptop.  The formula is as follows:

  • O = Original cost of broken laptop
  • A = Age of broken laptop in months
  • R = Repair cost
  • L = Lost work hours
  • H = Hourly rate

Repair your laptop if:

  • [(42-A)/42]*O – (L*H) – R > 0

Replace your laptop if

  • [(42-A)/42]*O – (L*H) – R < 0

Verdict:

I need to get my laptop repaired.

How about yours?

Aug
28
2008
0

2003 reasons to delete Vista

Looong story short, after Dell lost my Windows XP laptop they replaced eventually it with a new laptop (hooray!) with Windows Vista (boo!). Sure, I got used to it – but its a constant struggle. Once you strip down Vista, yanking out all the features that make it different from Windows XP, its not that bad. But, then again, there isn’t much good about it either. More than 18 months after the release of Vista, here’s my reason to not use it:

  • User Access Control
  • It requires more resources (hard drive space, RAM, processor speed)[1]
  • It will not work with MS Office 2003

In this day and age, there is exactly one reason to have Windows – Microsoft Office. If you want to play games, you’re better off with an XBox or PlayStation 3. If you want to surf the web, you can use your phone. For anything else, you can use a Mac or Linux.

A friend of mine confided that when her copy of MS Office 2003 didn’t work with Vista she bought MS Office 2007. This exact problem, my copy of MS Office 2003 not being able to run on my laptop running Vista, is why I turned to OpenOffice. Here’s the vicious cycle I perceive:

  1. Your old computer is slow.
  2. Buy a new computer.
  3. New computer comes with newest version of Windows.
  4. You buy all new software to run on the new version of Windows.
  5. Your computer is now loaded down with so much junk you need a faster computer.

I absolutely refuse to believe Microsoft is incapable of figuring out a way for their newest operating system to work with the world’s most popular office productivity software. The only possible explanation I will accept is that Microsoft is using the manufacturer’s theory of LRR.[2]

  1. Compare Windows XP’s requirements to Windows Vista’s for yourself. []
  2. Lather, rinse, repeat. []
Aug
13
2008
0

Mojave or Vista, its still junk

I recently saw banner advertisement for something called, “The Mojave Experiment.” The “Mojave Experiment” consists of hidden camera videos of people (who had negative opinions about Vista, but had never used it) being shown the next version of Windows, codenamed “Mojave.”

The Twist: Mojave was really just Vista.

Critical flaw #9: People who haven’t tried Vista by now probably don’t know enough about computers to tell whether the program they’re using is good or bad.

Shocking development #7: Everyone loved Mojave! Riiight. Everyone thought Vista could do wonderful things and was fast and responsive.

Here’s what they’re not telling you:

  • How many people tried “Mojave”
  • Which version of Vista these people were shown[1])
  • What kind of hardware were these “Mojave” machines running[2]
  • Whether these people actually used “Mojave” or merely watched the interviewer use “Mojave”
  • What programs they’re showing these people and whether those programs would work on other versions of Windows

I would be astounded if this bit of propaganda changed a single person’s mind. More than 18 months after Windows Vista’s launch on January 30, 2007, people still loathe it. People hate it so much they’re telling their friends.

Here’s a business tip for Microsoft: Don’t try to convince people they want your product. Just learn from your mistakes and build a better product.

  1. There are eight versions (four consumer, two business, one Ultimate, and one Red edition []
  2. Vista requires four times the RAM, three times the processor speed, and ten times the hard drive space of XP. []

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